Yoga is the practice of a set of postures and breathing exercises which aims to bring physical and mental well-being. this ancient art of living as it is explained in the texts is revealed as an initiatory path which transcends physical discipline.
The first references to yoga are found in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali written about 200 years before our era. In this work we understand the foundation of the philosophy of yoga and its possible application in all spheres of our life.
2) The different types of yoga
There are several styles of yoga and each one emphasizes a specific aspect of this practice:
-There are dynamic yogas in which the sequence of postures is done to the rhythm of the breath such as ashtanga and vinyasa, in these rather physical courses while softening and strengthening the body, we improve the cardiovascular system.
-The Iyengar which is a more static yoga emphasizes the alignment of the body, here we take the time to dissect each of the asanas, we develop the understanding of our body.
-Hatha Yoga is a gentle yoga easily practiced by older people.
It is important to find the style of yoga that suits us best, it depends a lot on our potential.
It is preferable, in order to benefit from the benefits of dynamic yogas, to be in good general health and to have a certain physical condition, otherwise it becomes difficult to keep pace, which generates a risk of injury.
For those who have back problems and who are not athletic, we must turn to a less dynamic yoga where we take the time to explain postures like Iyengar and hatha.
Today when we talk about yoga we are talking mainly about the practice of asanas and pranayama, that is the postures which aim to soften and strengthen the body and the breathing exercises which regulate the flow of vital energy.
Yoga brings a large number of physical benefits including muscle relaxation (yoga postures are varied to stretch all of the large muscle groups). Some postures help build muscle gently, others work balance rather.
With regular practice we can correct posture errors developed throughout our lives which greatly alleviates chronic back problems. A study carried out by the Temple University in 2008 showed that the practice of Iyengar yoga improves balance in women over 65 years of age.
"Yoga helps reduce stress"
During the session the attention is entirely focused on the body and the breath, one is in the "here and now", which is a form of meditation. A study by Boston University published in 2010 showed that the yoga was effective in relieving anxiety.
On the carpet we are invited to take the time to listen to the body, attention is constantly brought back to the breath, we develop our ability to concentrate. For example in balance exercises all our attention is required to maintain the posture.
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